A new season brings a fresh start for Premier League players and there will be a number of names keen to kick on after falling below expectations last time around.
Several stars struggled to make the impact expected and will be desperate to reach new levels as the 2023/24 campaign prepares to get underway next month.
Here are six Premier League players who need to kick on this season.
Darwin Nunez was the headline arrival at Liverpool last summer as the Reds beat competition from a number leading sides to sign the forward from Benfica. The deal was worth an initial £64m, but could potentially reach a club-record £85m with add-ons.
Nunez scored a respectable 15 goals in all competitions during a decent first season, but there is no doubt room for improvement this time around. The Uruguayan found himself in and out of the team during the second half of the campaign, with Cody Gakpo’s impressive performances after arriving from PSV in January having increased competition for a place in Jurgen Klopp’s team.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 24, 2023
Nunez often found himself out on the left during his debut campaign in the Premier League and will be keen for a regular run in his favoured central position. The 24-year-old has the raw attributes to develop into an elite centre-forward and Liverpool will hope a full pre-season can aid his development and ensure Nunez hits the ground running this season.
The early indications from pre-season appear promising with Nunez looking fit, sharp and with an improved grasp of English, with optimism high that he can improve from last season’s performance. Nunez exploded at Benfica in his second season after a first campaign of adaptation and Liverpool will hope a similar story emerges in 2023/24.
Antony was the most expensive arrival of Manchester United’s club-record spend last summer, with the Red Devils parting with an initial £82m to reunite the winger with former Ajax manager Erik ten Hag.
The Brazilian’s first season in the Premier League showed glimpses of the talent which made him so coveted, with a series of excellent long-range goals and finishes highlighting what he is capable of. However, United will want those flashes to be turned into consistent performances this time around, if the 23-year-old is to justify his price-tag.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) March 16, 2023
Antony scored just six goals in the Premier League last season and did not provide his first assist of the campaign until April. His return of two assists meant Antony contributed the same number of league assists for Ajax as he did Manchester United last season, despite leaving the Dutch side two games into the Eredivisie campaign.
He ranked in the lowest 13% of wingers in Europe’s top five leagues for assists last season and in only the 50th percentile for non-penalty goals. Improvements are required, with Antony needing to add effectiveness to the aesthetic.
Anthony Gordon’s first few months at Newcastle proved difficult as the winger struggled to secure a regular role in Eddie Howe’s top-four chasing side.
Gordon admitted that he wasn’t fit enough to cope with Howe’s demands after his mid-season arrival from Everton, but will hope to use a successful summer with England u21s as a springboard to success next season.
— England (@England) July 9, 2023
Gordon was named Player of the Tournament as England’s u21 side were crowned champions of Europe for the first time since 1984, impressing in a false nine role and ending the tournament as the Young Lions’ joint-leading scorer with two goals.
The winger will be given an extended break before linking up with the Magpies for pre-season, where he will hope to build on a memorable summer and force his way into Howe’s plans. With Champions League football set to return to St James’ Park this season, the 2023/24 campaign shapes as a massive campaign for the Magpies. Gordon will want to ensure he is a prominent part of that.
To say that Mykhailo Mudryk failed to hit the ground running at Chelsea would be an understatement.
Mudryk failed to build on an impressive debut for Chelsea during a challenging few months in England, looking some distance short of a player who commanded a fee of £88.5m from Shakhtar Donetsk.
⚽️ All goals by Mykhailo Mudryk for #Shakhtar ⚒
🔥 Which one do you remember the most?
— FC SHAKHTAR ENGLISH (@FCShakhtar_eng) January 15, 2023
The Ukrainian failed to score in 15 league appearances and provided just two assists, a poor return considering the initial investment. Mudryk will be given time to develop and at 22 is far from the finished article, but Chelsea will want to see notable signs of improvement after a full pre-season under new manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Mudryk showed signs of returning to the form which persuaded Chelsea to sign him during the summer internationals, impressing for Ukraine at both senior and u21 level. His electric pace and nimble footwork are sure to appeal to new head coach Pochettino, who has a fine reputation for developing young talent and will view Mudryk as an exciting project.
Richarlison’s disastrous debut campaign at Tottenham took most of the headlines last season, but Dejan Kulusevski’s form was also a concern for the north Londoners.
Kulusevski starred after his initial arrival on loan from Juventus in 2021/22 and averaged a goal or assist every 97.4 minutes in the Premier League during a brilliant introduction to the division. The Swede was unable to replicate that form last season however, with his output reducing to a goal involvement every 231 minutes, scoring just twice all season.
This footage… 🔥 pic.twitter.com/c6rbIiLCPi
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 12, 2022
Spurs require improvement from their attacking options after an over-reliance on Harry Kane last season, with the prospect of the forward departing this summer only increasing that need.
Kulusevski at his best is one of the most watchable wingers in the division and, at 23, still has room to continue improving. Spurs will hope he can become a leading figure in Ange Postecoglou’s new-look team.
Fabio Vieira proved somewhat of a forgotten figure during an encouraging season for Arsenal. Signed from Porto with a growing reputation, the midfielder failed to break into Mikel Arteta’s plans and started just three Premier League games.
The outstanding form of Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka made finding a route into the side difficult, though Vieira showed signs of his creativity and threat during appearances in cup competition.
— Fabio Vieira (@FabioVi59283732) July 10, 2023
The 23-year-old produced six goals and assists in just eight starts across all competitions, having provided 14 assists – the second-best return in the Primeira Liga – as Porto won a league and Taça de Portugal double in 2021/22.
Competition is fierce for a place at Arsenal, with Emile Smith Rowe and new recruit Kai Havertz also among Mikel Arteta’s creative options. Squad depth is key for success, but Vieira will feel he has the talent to command a more important role after a frustrating first season in north London.
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